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Q: Mr. Secord, how long have you been active in education?
(Streamed audio file of interview for this question using RealPlayer)
A: I was (in education) for 27 years in Virginia and before that I was a teacher for 6 years - 2 years in New York state and 4 years in Greenwich, Connecticut. Then, I moved to Vermont to become a principal. I figured that if I wanted to become a principal, I would have to move. So, that's what I did.
Q: You have been in a variety of schools in a variety of states. How long have you been in Virginia as a principal? (10)
A: I have been in Virginia for 27 years, all of them as a principal. I was a principal when I went to Vermont. It was my first experience as a principal. I was there for 2 years and then I came to Virginia...and was a principal here for 27 years.
Q: Can you tell me something about the educational philosophy you had as a principal of one of the high schools?
A: My educational philosophy, as a principal of a high school, that is where I had most of my experience. I started out in a combination school, grades 1 through 12. I had a couple schools like that and then got my first high school. Strictly as a high school was Jefferson Senior High School in Roanoke, Virginia. My philosophy was that...I believe that the school is there for the kids and that my job was to help teachers do their job with the students of the school. And, also, to help the teachers feel comfortable and competent working there.
Q: When you were a teacher, what made you decide to become a principal? I know this is a question that I often ask myself.
A: Yes - I became a principal because of my high school principal. I really admired him. I went to a small high school and just thought (that) he was quite a guy. I also thought that's the kind of job I would really like - being active with young people, things of that nature. I think that's why I really became a principal.
Q: So you believe that much of it (your decision) is based on your role with students?
A: Yes!~ I think that you've got to like your job. You won't be very happy of successful unless you like your job and what you're doing. Being involved with the students and teachers has got to be very important...and the parents!
Q: It seems like a great deal of what you are saying deals with creating a special school environment. What type of school environment did you strive to have?
A: I strived for...I was placed, in several instances, in schools where they wanted a change in school environment. So my job was to make it a more disciplined environment and to change some things that had been done before, to try and reach the goals of the community. Could you ask me this question again?
Q: The school climate that you strived for was...
A: Yes. I believe in a school where the climate is comfortable for students, as well as for teachers. That doesn't mean that I don't believe in discipline for students. However, I don't believe in yelling at them, either in the classroom or in the principal's office. I believe that you can reach the same goals by a little more comfortable manner, which will relate to how the students will relate to each other in the school.
Q: In particular, were there any special types of activities that you used to raise the self esteem of students?
A: I really believe in talking - talking to students on a one to one basis as well as in groups. I don't know if this is an example or not, but, one activity I did every year as a high school principal was to talk to the senior class in small classes like English class. I would go to English classes and talk to them about their responsibilities. Graduation would be coming up and things of that sort, on a one to one basis or in a small group. I thought they were pretty good. Another thing, was to have assemblies and have students get up and say whatever they wanted. Usually we selected a topic or things that we were going to talk about. In that way, students would have an opportunity to express their feelings. That was particularly valuable when we were into integration (in Alexandria). So that you would let or have the students get up and tell what was on their minds, what was bothering them. This was in a school where there were about 1000 kids or more. You had all types and kinds of beliefs and opinions - some they were getting from their community and parents. And, they were trying to make up their own minds. So, I felt the best way was to get them to verbalize it. Sometimes it got out of hand and you had to shift gears and stop for a while and then start over again. But, I'm a great believer in letting people express their thoughts and beliefs. I think you can - and you asked about high school - but, I think you can do this in elementary schools, at that level, too.
Q: I do agree. You mentioned before about school and community relations. I know that you were the principal of T. C. Williams during the time of Martin Luther King. In particular, you were principal on the day he was assassinated. What type of environment did the school have at that time?
A: Well, that was a time in Alexandria of the beginnings of total integration. In other words, T. C. Williams was the only...integrated high school...but a very new situation. We had G. W. as a high school at that time and Hammond was a high school. But T. C. was the central school. I don't know how to explain, but they were in the process of closing the G. W. aspect and the Hammond aspect, and turning them into middle schools. The first year or sso, there were four grades at each of the schools, as well as, T.C. Williams. One of the schools was in a black area with most students being black and one (school) was in a white area - and we (T.C. Williams) were in the middle with about half and half. as it was at that time. That was when I really started having those assemblies and letting people talk.
Q: Mr. Secord, how did you get the community involved with your school at that time?
A: Probably easier than now, because we had groups, such as ministerial associations, lawyers, city officials, who were willing to come to school on a voluntary basis and talk to groups - small groups, usually in history classes, about what was going on. To try and get students to communicate to them and then they would come and talk with me. The leaders of the groups and I were able to identify...we're talking about integration now...we were able to identify black students who really wanted to be involved in having a smooth integration.
Q: Were you able to utilize these students in convincing others?
A: Right! One of those students I remember very well because he was looked upon not too well be his peers - you know, the Uncle Tom. But he really was a good student, became student body president and finally, went on to become a school board member and a strong member of the community right now. He was a great student leader at the time. And we had some that went the other way, and I had to deal with them, too. I felt that as long as I could keep my communications open with them... Not only was that going on back then...this is the 60's remember, the last part of the 60's...but we also had students who were for the Cuban Revolt, for example, and Vietnam. We had student protests and things of that nature. We had some problems, but they worked out. I hasten to say that I didn't do very much. I had good staff. I had good assistant principals, and they were very well able to handle many of these things.
Q: In talking about assistant principals. What qualities do you look for an effective leadership?
A: Someone who can do all your work for you (laughter). No - but you have to have someone who really wants to be a principal. This is what I feel about it. Leadership is a continuous, active skill. I think that the person who is the assistant, that does the best job, is the person who really wants to be the principal. And...therefore, he looks at the job as if this is what he was. That kind of a man or woman made the best kind of assistant and I was glad for them when they moved on to the type of job they wanted. But we'll get to that later.
Q: Please go on Mr. Secord.
A: I was going to say that if you're an assistant principal and you want to be a principal - I think that you've got to move. By this I mean you have to move either to another system or to another school. If you're going to stay right where you are and wait for the opening in that school to open up, I don't think that's a very stable idea.
Q: If you look back upon your most successful assistant principal, what type of qualities did he or she have?
A: Well - I'm thinking of a man who was an assistant principal at T. C. during all this turmoil we had. He was a big, strong guy who I could depend upon. He wasn't going to turn around and go the other way when he saw a problem. He wanted to be the principal...he wanted to be the Superintendent. That's the way he felt and I think he was one of the best assistants that I can remember. In some other areas, I've had women assistant principals and the one that I can think about early on was really outstanding, with all the qualities of really feeling for the kids and having good relations with the teachers.
Q: When you look at a teacher - what type of characteristics do you look for? Would they be much different from an assistant principal?
A: No, I don't really think so. I think that a good teacher has got to have the interest of the whole school at heart. While I'm thinking about it - I had one (assistant) principal when I first started here, who had been a chairman of the science department at a city school. When he came in, he was looking out for the science department at T. C. Williams. I could notice that and I finally had to sit down and say, "Howard, you've got to remember that you don't represent the whole school." I think sometimes that's hard for people to do. If you're a counselor you might represent them a little better. I remember that in particular. I think a principal and an assistant principal have to keep in mind all the different school areas, which includes equally music, athletics, math, and whatever. I used to give even, equal time and attention.
Q: When you look at the teacher, do you believe they need to be that well rounded also?
A: Yes - I guess you look at a coach and you look at a music director and its easy to find music directors that all they think about is that band. It's easy to look at a coach and he sees only that football team, but the two of them have got to learn to work together. Because sometimes in small schools, they use the same kids in both organizations. The tuba player, a great big guy, also might be a tackle on the football team. So they have to cooperate...the teachers have to in order to get the best out of that guy. I think teachers that are interested in all areas of a school, make better teachers. That doesn't mean I don't want them to be experts in math. For example - right now they're having new kinds of scheduling in elementary schools. This can turn an upper elementary teacher against a lower elementary teacher, because of the use of specials - like art. They all want it at certain times of the day which is most convenient to them. But, it can't always be done that way. So, they have to learn to understand and be cooperative.
Q: Mr. Secord, what do you think a teacher expects from a principal?
A: This has just been brought forth to me quite recently. I think one of the things is that they want to be recognized, by name and face, and they want it like that when you have a new principal. That's one of the things they judge a principal on - how quick they get to know them. An example at a new school I was at not too long ago - a new principal accidentally called one teacher by her wrong name and that's the first thing heard from that teacher. I also know they expect principals to back them up as much as possible and to show them that they're interested in the problems that they have.
Q: When you say "back them up" - what do you mean by that?
A: If they have a problem in the classroom and they need help, I think the principal needs to help them and the teachers needs to feel comfortable in going to the principal. Not feel, "Well, if I go to him, he is going to feel that I can't do it or he's going to be critical of me." That wouldn't be a good working relationship at all. I think the right was is to let them know right away that his job is to help them as teachers do a better job in the classroom. That may include discipline or the use of time or may include helping with parents that come in to see the teacher. Now when I say support them or back them up - sometimes you can't. Sometimes you've got to be able to show the teacher that she was wrong or he was wrong. If you can do that and come out smelling like a rose, you're doing pretty good. I don't think I did that very often, but that's important.
Q: Did you ever have to discipline a teacher?
Q: How did you handle that? Were you direct?
A: I think the best way to handle that is to sit down in your office someplace and when the tension is over, just talk about it and point out what you would like to have them do, or how they would like me to change. I was thinking of a time in a small high school and I would see this kid jumping and running down the steps and I used to get on his back all the time. He became a senior and one day he came in to talk to me and he said, "Mr. Secord, you've changed a whole lot." I said that I thought he had changed a whole lot. We both agreed that he wouldn't run up and down the stairs and I wouldn't yell at him. He thought that I was the one that changed and I thought he did. I think that teachers and principals are much the same.
Q: It seems that a log of what you're saying is finding a method of establishing a certain level of rapport (with teachers and students).
A: Yes! Well, today of course, things have changed since I was a principal, in the evaluation processes we have today. (They are) much more detailed and a lot more work to do. You usually get a lot of instructions from the administrative people above you...how they want you to do this. It's a little more formal now, but I still think you've got to be able to...relate to a person, be able to understand each other, before you can get down to disciplining anyone.
Q: After you established your rapport - how did you go about evaluating your teachers?
A: First, you have to see them teach. Sometimes you have to listen to how the kids react to the teacher. I think you can learn a lot by listening to the kids talk, not asking them (specific) questions, but just listening in the cafeteria and places like that...that you come in contact with kids. Another thing is what kind of activities come out of that classroom...how creative are they...do they work together. It used to be that the teacher went into the room and they did everything themselves, but today you find two or three teachers working together as a team. Two sixth grade teachers working together in the area of English, putting on plays together, represents what they just studied and science the same way. You don't have to have a team approach either, just a couple of teachers willing to get together and work together - usually one is the leader.
Q: Mr. Secord, do you have any feedback on the merit pay system being used in Fairfax?
A: No, not very much. Generally, I don't feel that teachers are too enthused about it, from what I hear. I remember when I was a teacher, had just started perhaps five or six years, and I was active in a lot of things. I went to see the Superintendent about getting a raise and he said, "Well, you're on a salary scale and you're going to get your raise according to that salary scale." You see I was looking at teachers who I felt weren't doing what I was and were still getting the same raise. And, I wasn't very happy about it and I hope that teachers would feel the same way now.
Q: So you don't agree with career ladders for teachers?
A: No - of course career ladders are better than no raises, but if everyone is going to ...put into effect because how will you get people to do their best. If everyone gets paid the same, no matter what they do.
Q: To move on to a different topic - It seems that a trend is developing to decentralize a lot of the decision-making that's happening in schools. In Prince William County they call this School Based Management. How do you feel about having the control in your school? I believe that you had some experience in that area?
A: Well, I really didn't have too much experience in that area. However, I believe that some schools that I have been in, I have been in charge of everything in the school. I didn't have to run and go asking if I could go and do this or that. Then, I went through a period of time where everything had to be approved by the central office. My philosophy was always that if you don't take a chance and do things, sometimes without authority, you're never going to get things done. That doesn't sound too hot, but I don't thing that a principal can always sit back and follow the book all the time. I think he has to keep his nose clean as far as the law is concerned - school law and school board (policy) - don't break school board rules. But he needs to be able to move around in that area. School Based Management is going to be good. They're doing that in Alexandria to a certain extent, too.
Q: Are they (in Alexandria) allowing the principals to actually run their own school's budget?
A: I don't know enough about this area, but I understand they did give the schools a certain basic budget and allowed them to move some of the (budgetary) items around within the school. I've listened to Harold (son) and what he does and I know he is enthusiastic about that. Of course, what he finds and knows is that he has to bring the teachers right along with him on that, so they will feel they're doing their part in order to get all the increases in monies to the areas of instruction they want. Do you have school based management in the school system you're in?
Q: No we don't - I was thinking about effective leadership. What type of leadership do you believe makes for a positive school and an effective school?
A: Well, I think I indicated before that a principal that sits in his or her office and just does the things that they have to do - and you have to get some of these things (paperwork) done - rather than being out in the building where the teachers and students can see you - that you're interested in what they're doing and attending school events, athletics, musical plays. That's a form of leadership when you're involved in doing and showing interest in those things...leadership is being involved in what's going on.
Q: Did you have a personal code of ethics?
A: I think I did. Can you broaden that a little bit?
Q: Do you feel that the way you act and the type of responsibilities and how you feel is transferred on to others more than just an understanding of the law?
A: Yes...I believe in being honest and setting an example where I can set it, and not saying one thing and doing another. I'll give you a good example that yo probably don't agree with but...I believe that we need to, in the area of liquor or dope...if you're going to be involved in these things...it's pretty hard for you to set the example for the students who are coming along with you and who you re going to work with. The first time they see you not following in what you say...it lowers your value to the school.
Q: So it's a matter of consistency too?
A: Right! You can't do one thing at one time and another at another time. And...you have to be fair to students, as well as to teachers. You can't have favorites.
Q: Do you feel that you were ever hampered by the central office?
A: Yes. I felt that way. I'll give you one example. When I was a high school principal, we used to try to control activities of sororities and fraternities, because we felt they were not very good for high school aged kids. In one school, just before Christmas time, seven-eight students came in with mohawk haircuts. Today, that wouldn't make much difference, but we found out that that (haircut) had been done as a fraternity initiation at the high school level. So I just suspended them until their looked better. This may not be done today.
Q: Mr. Secord, we are seeing a greater emphasis on education in our country and particularly on developing effective and equitable educational standards in our schools. What role does a principal play in developing and maintaining effective schools?
A: Well, the principal should provide direction to the school by example. By that I mean a principal needs to be aware of the things that are going on in his school, as well as in education, at all levels. Principals need to keep current with what's new in education. For example, school based management is becoming an important direction in local schools. Principals need to know how best to provide direction for their staffs and students. Another area that I see the principal being importantly involved in is curriculum. The principal must know where the curriculum is going in order to help develop a good school plan...as well as help the teacher in teaching to this plan. I see the way things seem to be going, that the principal's role is widening at the school level. Actually at all levels, since their decisions will effect other schools and community members. Of course, a lot of this has been tried before...it seems to go around and come back.
Q: Where you involved in developing curriculum as a principal?
A: I always worked with the teachers and knew what they were doing. I don't think I developed the curriculum...but I knew what areas the teachers were working. Not an expert, like in math, but knowing what the goals were.
Q: Getting back to the civil rights issue during the Martin Luther King assassination. What steps did you take personally at your school to help diffuse the situation?
A: First thing we did was to talk with student leaders, both white and black student leaders. Then, we had assemblies on the day that Martin Luther King was assassinated. The next year on his birthday we had an assembly in honor of Martin Luther King, and we tried to make it an honorable one. A lot of kids in the school didn't want any part of that - white, red-neck background type kids who heard if from home. Then, of course, we had it from black kids on the other side. But, by having them come together and talk...I though that was one way to smooth out things. Of course, we didn't smooth them all out, but it did help a whole lot. We had a group of kids from another high school come to our assembly, because they couldn't have an assembly at their own school. That was a plus for us, I thought. Then, I told you before, at that time we were having leaders from the ministerial associations, both black and white, who came to school and talked with anyone who wanted to talk. We would announce that they (ministers) would be there or they would go to history classes and talk...which was one of the most effective things. Teachers also had to, black teachers and white teachers, that's two distinct groups, had to have the right feeling about this too. Some of the people involved didn't believe some of the things that were being said, either from one side or the other, of the situation. There were some things going on in Philadelphia where they were having special programs...in schools and some of the teachers didn't think that was necessary. Things weren't that way around here, which may not have been true. But, that's how they felt. They were black teachers speaking...teachers needed to be talked to and reassured about how things were.
Q: Do you believe that there is a relapse that has happened in recent years, an insensitivity towards minority students?
A: I have to talk about my recent experiences on limited basis. I haven't really seen that. Of course, we don't have limited minority groups now. Minority groups of Hispanic, Afghanistan, and Vietnamese, and you name it, in most every school around here. We have many kids who can't speak English when they come here, so there has to be programs to help them. Then, the kids have to accept them. One way, at a school that I worked at not so long ago, we had, along with the ESL teacher, foreign language students make announcements on the intercom about things that would interest all students. Then we had them interpreted by someone else. We felt this was doing two things. One was getting information out and, two was to make that student feel important, that they could make an announcement like that. Minority achievement is what you are talking about. Minority achievement programs are pretty widespread today and important, I believe.
Q: Mr. Secord, what do you believe was your most difficult decision to make as a principal?
A: I'm going to put a type of decision to make. When to suspend kids from school bothered me most...to decide. First of all, was the suspension necessary to make the school atmosphere better? You had to think of that point of view. Second, was it good for the kid to go home, where he's not supervised or he's missing school? I always had a hard time dealing with that. I used to have a few teachers upset with me because I would not suspend more people, certain people. And, they were right. On the other hand, I knew the kid and I knew he had so many other problems that just suspending him was not the answer. So, I was willing to take the criticism of the teachers, despite how they might have felt about the situation. That's not a very good thing for a principal to do, but sometimes I think you have to.
Q: Did you find that discipline and talking about discipline to students took up a great deal of your time?
A: It does take a lot of your time, but if you have a good size school and have assistants that can handle that sort of thing - you divide them up...
Q: So you would use your assistant principals, sometimes for discipline and some perhaps for scheduling?
A: Yes. When I was at T. C. Williams, I used the Hall Plan, A School Within a School Plan, where we had an assistant principal in charge of a certain area. They did everything that the principal did, but, of course, I was with them and would back them up if I needed to, or help them in whatever needed to be done.
Q: What activities in particular did you enjoy most? Daily activities that you enjoyed most.
A: Talking to students, visiting classrooms not on an evaluation basis, but just visiting them so I would know what was going on. I also enjoyed activities outside of the school, like football games - which I made a practice of attending most all the time. I also enjoyed my relationships with teachers and with other principals who I worked with in the area.
Q: Do you think that you were well-trained to be a principal?
A: I got my B.S.in accounting. Ten years later I got an M.A. in Administration, and in between that time I was teaching. I had some very good courses in administration that helped me a whole lot, especially the reading I did. For my first job, I think I was pretty well prepared because I didn't go into T. C. Williams with 1800 kids. I went into a small school where I did everything. Now today, the difference between a beginning principal and when I started is that I started in a small school. You may have done the coaching - my first school, I did all the coaching, was principal, and taught three or four classes a day. But, it was a small school, grades 1 through 12, in a small Vermont town - but that is how I got a wide experience with all the different kinds of things I dealt with. Sometimes I stoked the furnace. Then, I moved to a little bit bigger school. Today, and this is what I told these guys later on, they expected to come in and be the principal of one school immediately. I said, "you have to go out and get some experience." It's very unusual for that to happen now.
Q: Then you moved on to larger schools. Was T. C. Williams the largest school you were principal at?
A: Yes. Either T. C. Williams or Patrick Henry. T.C. Williams or Jefferson in Roanoke was a pretty big school, but T. C. was a little bit bigger.
Q: Now today, the trend (in school size) seems to be larger and larger high schools.
A: I believe the smaller the school the better. My philosophy is that with smaller schools you can efficiently operate and would be better for kids and everything else. Efficiency has to have something to do with it.
Q: In the larger high schools that you were a part of...what kind of organizational design did you have?
A: In Roanoke we built a new school particularly for a School Within a School operation. We put that in there and that is what I liked very much.
Q: Could you please explain that?
A: In Roanoke we had three building, three separate buildings. This is the purest sense of the School Within a School. We had three separate building and we divided our student body three ways. So many 9th graders, 10th graders, 11th graders, and 12th graders in each of these buildings. We tried and found out that you could pick out your students by ability so that you wouldn't have all the good ones in one building and all...although they might do that today. We believed in having a mixed group, so we found out by stacking the students together and just shuffling them out, we got a pretty good mix. Then, we assigned an assistant (principal), we called them a dean in Roanoke, but it was an assistant principal who was in charge of that building. (They) had their own guidance counselors in the building and most of the kids could take almost all of their subjects in one building without going out, although you may not have a home economics section in every building or may not have had an art class in every building. So there was some crossover...that's the way it worked.
Q: Mr. Secord, it must have been difficult to get to the grass roots level, with such a large number of students.
A: I don't know what you mean by grass roots - you mean getting to know the kids pretty well? Well, the purpose was to break it down into a small school. That's the reason for doing it, is to get to know the kids better. Now the principal is still going to have to work at getting to know the kids better three times over what the principal of what one school did. We started that same way at T. C. Williams. They have done away with that now.
Q: What would you say would be the ideal size?
A: Oh - eight hundred to one thousand - from a point of view of getting to know your kids and giving everyone a chance to take part in the activities. The bigger the school, you may have a better team, but you reduce the number of people who participate.,
Q: Did you find that you enjoyed the smaller schools more than the bigger schools that you had?
A: I just think there were some advantages in the smaller schools. It would depend on how you would staff them, the money you had, and things of that sort. One of the things up here in Northern Virginia is the big athletic programs they have for girls. That didn't use to be. There were very little (in the way of) girl's athletics. There may have been a girl's basketball team and that would be it. Now, they have hundreds of girls in crew at T. C., for example, and I'm sure that's true of the other schools in the area.
Q: Mr. Secord, if you could change any five things in education today, what would you change?
A: One thing I would hope to change would be my training or my ability to deal with disruptive students in the classroom. Maybe not great discipline problems, but kids who are disruptive and prevent good learning from occurring in that class. And, how to help that student as well as to help that teacher, as well as other members of that class. That kid, whether he's a good student or a poor student, he deserves to benefit, but so do the other kids too. So how...and I think that needs to be improved some how. Another thing that I would like to see changed or improved is how principals get their training. I learned mine...I did take administration courses at the college level in principalship. I remember one called 'The Small High School Principal' was the name of the course. I think what could be done is that somewhere along the line as we train teachers by having student (principals)...we call these people to come into the classroom to help teachers and principals, as part of their college work. Why couldn't people who wanted to become a principal act with his principal in his own school, act part time. I think this could be worked out - I don't know how - but I think it could be worked out.
Q: Would you make any other changes in particular...perhaps in school size?
A: Well, I think I indicated before that I think a high school at 900 or 1000 is a pretty good size school to be at to have good activities, but yet, small enough to know your kids better. And, I believe the same thing is true of colleges, by the way. If you attend a small college, it has many advantages.
Q: How about teacher training? Do you believe teachers are coming in better trained now? Effectively?
A: Now you can get a good argument on this one, but a lot of people are saying that we don't need to train teachers now. All we need is to get someone, that is a great scientist or great mathematician, or something else he trained in, and put him in a classroom and let him teach. Well, I don't...I think this is fine, but I think they need some preparation on how to deal with students and things like that too. I think a little bit of both perhaps would be a good thing. I like teachers who like student teachers. I don't know if you understand what I'm saying. I think a teacher who likes student teachers is competent in their own ability, but they're willing to do the extra work and paperwork, which will help some other person perhaps be a good teacher too.
Q: Would you do it again? Would you become a principal again?
A: Oh yes! I've never had or thought that I wouldn't like being a principal. Now I might have been financially better off right now if I would have done something else, but the satisfaction - I just enjoyed my work, that's all. I didn't want to be a superintendent - I don't think I was smart enough to be a superintendent, let's put it that way - but I like to be where the action is - which is in the school.
Q: Mr. Secord, what do you think were your greatest accomplishments in your career as an educator and administrator?
A: One of my greatest accomplishments was to be living long enough to be sitting here talking to you! After working in schools all my career! I don't think that there is any one great accomplishment that I've done. Personally, any time that I was able to change jobs and get a little better one - I thought that was an accomplishment and that's how I sort of gauge my life. If you want me to say who did I have in school that have become famous people, and therefore I'm proud of that and that's my greatest accomplishment, that wouldn't be true because I would only be a small part of that person's background and training. That's a hard question for me to answer.
Q: You don't want to take credit for things.
A: Not unless I had some pretty good proof.
Q: If you were going to give me advice...say I was going to become a principal at a school...what type of advice would you give me?
A: First of all, I would want you to be really caught up in wanting to do this kind of work. I know you wouldn't be doing it for (money), although salaries are much better today than when I was working, but that would not be the reason you would want to be a principal, but because you want to be related to the kind of work that you do, day by day, with kids, adults and parents. If you can stand that and you like that, then that's what you ought to do. Now how can you do it? Well, I think you can do it by taking courses like you're taking now, getting actual experience in your own school...that's what I'm a great believer in, I think you could get some experience there and then being willing to go where the job is. If you really want to become a principal next year - bad enough to move to Timbuktwo, that's one thing, not always the best thing, but that's one way to go. I don't think that it is practical to wait in a certain spot for something to open up, if you want to do it in the early part of your life. Get to know this man who is teaching your course. He might be one who could help you find a job. That's how I got some jobs. These university people know where there are openings, where there are good openings. Ask your friends, you must have friends in different schools, in different parts of the state. Do you want to move or do you want to stay in Fairfax where you live today? Fairfax has a lot of schools and there seems to be opportunities. But, if there are not opportunities in Fairfax, there should be some in Loudon County and Prince William County. That's the way things are going...out that way...Fauquier, probably.
Q: So, it is important to move to wherever the job may be?
A: That's the way I always got my job. I was in a job in Greenwich, Connecticut one time, a teaching job, and I had my certificates to become a principal and my friend who was a principal told me to "just stay here and they'll find you a job." Well, if I would have stayed there fifteen years, I wouldn't have gotten a job, as I look back on who is still there. So, I moved to Vermont, which was about as far as you could go at that time from where I was, and worked in a small school in Vermont, and then came to Virginia.
Q: OK - last question - Are there any questions that I haven't asked, that you believe I should have asked?
A: You have been pretty inquisitive...probably asked me a lot of questions, probably more than you should have asked, and I know I said more than I should say.
Q: Well, I've certainly enjoyed it, I really have. You have provided me with some great information and a great time. Thank you again.
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